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Ottawa: Bayrakdarian To Open Chamberfest

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  • Ottawa: Bayrakdarian To Open Chamberfest

    Steven Mazey

    Ottawa Citizen
    March 31 2008

    Star Armenian-Canadian soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian will open the 2008
    Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival July 25, peforming music
    from her recent album Tango Notturno, the festival has announced.

    It will mark Bayrakdarian's first Ottawa performance since she sang
    in the outdoor opera concert at LeBreton Flats last summer with the
    Canadian Opera Company.

    Performing with Bayrakdarian will be pianist Serouj Kradjian, bassist
    Roberto Occhipinti, clarinettist Shalom Bard, Argentine bandoneon
    player Fabian Carbone and cellist Roman Borys, who is programming this
    year's festival with his colleagues from the Gryphon Trio. Borys was
    one of the musicians on Bayrakdarian's CBC Records disc.

    "Isabel Bayrakdarian is an astonishing talent and the passion,
    romance and sheer beauty of this music will knock everyone's socks
    off," Borys said in a statement.

    The CD includes pieces by Argentine composer Astor Piazzolla and by
    other composers from around the world, including Jacob Gade, Anselmo
    Aieta, Farid El Atrache and Arno Babajanian. Bayrakdarian, who was
    born in Armenia, moved to Toronto with her family as a teenager. She
    performs regularly at the Metropolitan Opera, has sung with orchestras
    around the world and was featured on the soundtrack of the film The
    Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.

    Running July 25 to Aug. 9, the 15th annual festival will include more
    than 110 concerts and other events. More details will be announced
    in coming weeks, but Borys said the festival will include concerts
    with multimedia, dance and choral components.

    Returning performers will include the Shanghai and St Lawrence string
    quartets, pianist Andre Laplante and violinist Mayumi Seiler.

    First-time performers at the event will include the Keller Quartet,
    violinist Alfred Gamil and Canadian cellist Shauna Rolston.

    In celebration of the Banff Centre's 75th anniversary, the festival
    will include two days of performances by alumni of the artistic
    training centre. The festival is collaborating with Calgary's Honens
    International Piano Competition, to present performances by the most
    recent laureates, from 2006. The competition is held every three years.

    Organizers also announced the festival will include music by R. Murray
    Schafer, Claude Vivier, Olivier Messiaen and "many other contemporary

    Citizen music critic Richard Todd criticized a decision by the
    programmers of last year's festival to eliminate former Chamber
    Society artistic director Julian Armour's tradition of programming
    two full days of contemporary music in addition to the performances
    of new music Armour presented throughout the festival.